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Peach and Beet Watercress Salad with a Multi-Seed Dukkah

I recently revisited one of my favorite dessert recipes on this blog, the Sweet Dukkah Cigars. I enjoyed them so much, that I was inspired to make a savory dukkah to have for sprinkling on various salads and soups for the weeks to come. Traditionally, dukkah is an Egyptian spice, herb and nut mix, served as a dip for bread. Ours is packed with nuts (almonds and pistachios), seeds (sesame, chia, pumpkin), and invigorating spices (cardamom, cumin, coriander), and it can serve as the perfect finishing touch for a variety of dishes.

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Homage to summer’s sumptuousness

Let us take a moment to savor the sumptuousness of the summer harvest! And to select a few glorious things to do with it. My dear friend and neighbor Julie Burford and I already have our tried and true traditions and are happy to share. We’ve got you covered. (You may remember Julie from The soul of soup: cooking with my Soup Sister.)

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Avocado Soft Serve

I often buy those nets of not-yet-ripe, organic avocados to have them ripen later in the week. What ends up happening more often than not is that they all get ripe at the same time, and I can’t use them up fast enough. My solution is to mash up the avocados with some lime juice, then freeze the mash in ice cube trays to use in smoothies, quick avocado pudding and this soft serve, which we are completely obsessed with.

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Roasted Red Pepper Dip

Are you riding the Transition Train? If so, welcome aboard! It seems as though nearly everyone I know is moving, ending a relationship, leaving a job, or embarking on a new venture. Change can be scary, overwhelming, frustrating, exhausting, and even paralyzing. But, it can also be exciting, reinvigorating, and inspiring.

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Cool as a cucumber!

My friends, cucumbers have changed! When I was growing up, cucumbers were fat and stubby with waxy skins and big, blah seeds. They were relegated to three uses: a garnish on the plate, sliced in a salad, or finely sliced in little tea sandwiches with butter on white bread. Honestly not a major player, nothing spectacular. The texture was unexciting, the seeds were annoying, the skin was bitter. Meh.

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Foods to take when you travel

Traveling this summer? When it comes to food, I suggest you be prepared! 

My dear friend and her husband came to visit us in California last month. She was 26 weeks pregnant and traveling from the east coast, a LONG travel day. She had planned ahead and ordered a special meal for the plane… which turned out to be disgusting, virtually inedible. Oh, dear! She asked the flight attendant if she could rustle her up a cheese plate. To which the attendant flatly said, no. We don’t have any extras. My friend said, I’m a pregnant woman! Get me a cheese plate!!!  You do not want to mess with a hungry pregnant woman!!!!  Startled, the flight attendant rummaged through the food cabinet, and wouldn’t you know, she found one. 

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Watermelon Panzanella

Hey friends, this is Masha checking in with my (now annual) Woodstock, NY trip photos and a really good watermelon panzanella recipe that we cooked while there. My boyfriend and I went to Woodstock for the first time last summer and were completely enamored by its lush nature, chill swimming spots, and friendly small town vibe. We couldn’t wait to repeat the experience this year, and ended up staying at the same cottage in the woods for a weekend, which is perfect as far as we’re concerned. For our Saturday night dinner, we repeated the routine of shopping at Kingston Farmer’s Market in the morning and cooking dinner with all the bounty we found there at night. We made grilled pizzas and watermelon panzanella, and enjoyed the sweetest local blueberries together with Fruition chocolate for dessert.


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Superfood Tie Dye Pops

Paloma’s been taking an active interest in cooking and working on fun food projects with me in the kitchen. This newfound fascination may have something to do with the fact that she’s on summer break and cannot stand being at home with nothing to do for more than a few hours at a time. Instead, she’ll wake up with wild ideas about what she’d like to cook that day. I try to carve out time for those little projects whenever possible, since I obviously support this type of hobby :) In all seriousness though, cooking with kids creates such a great awareness about the importance and power of ingredients, and teaches them all about our connection to food and nourishment. So we’ll cook colorful things like berry-filled ravioli with a green, spirulina-dyed dough and our raw chocolate with a ton of different flavorings, and the kid’s always happy to partake in the fruits of her labor.

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Plant-Based Summer Meal Plan, Part 2

Here comes Part 2 of our Plant-Based Summer meal plan, which we created in hopes of helping some of you get more plants into your life on a day-to-day basis. We aimed for efficiency, but also tried to come up with recipes that are inspired and delicious. Part 2 focuses on dinner and dessert only. There are tacos and fajitas, as well as a juicy fruit crisp. To see the breakfast and lunch recipes, as well as the grocery shopping list for the entire meal plan, head to Part 1.If you use this meal plan, we would appreciate your feedback a whole lot. Tell us which parts were useful and where we could improve. These meal plans are a ton of fun to come up with, but they are also a ton of work, so we want to make sure that we are putting our energy into something that’s practical to you. Providing that everything goes well, we’ll come out with the next meal plan in the fall. Until then, we are back to our regular schedule of two recipe posts a week :)

Menu

(see Part 1 for breakfast and lunch recipes)

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Plant-Based Summer Meal Plan, Part 1

A few months ago, we asked if you would be interested in seeing semi-regular, seasonal meal plans here and heard a resounding yes. We love coming up with whimsical and creative, plant-based recipes to share here, but we also want this site to be a friendly space for busy people looking to eat more plants. You know, for those of you who might not have the time or brain space for making, say, an experimental aquafaba meringue, like we do. Meal planning is a great practice for saving money on groceries (and impulse takeout orders!), eating homemade meals (which inevitably equal healthier meals), and minimizing those situations of staring blankly into your refrigerator, wondering what to eat for dinner. Do I plan my meals? Sometimes. Ironically, I think that if cooking wasn’t my job, I would plan our family meals much more. But because I’m in the business of dreaming up recipes for this blog and for other publications, I often end up with random, non-coordinated dishes in my fridge, which then become our breakfast, lunch and dinner.


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Hibiscus Orange Blossom Turkish Delight

Turkish delight is one of those old-school sweets that was always around during my childhood in the Soviet Union, which is surprising because treats were scarce and mainly homemade. There was a tiny store a short walk away from our home, where they carried neat, white paper boxes, lined with tissue and filled with delicate pink, sugar-dusted Turkish Delight squares. We called the treat rahat lokum (just another commonly used name for Turkish Delight). I spent my childhood convinced that it was fairy food, and cherished every pleasantly jelly-like, aromatic bite from the magical paper box.


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Creamy, Garlicky Fettuccine with Roasted Green Vegetables

Here’s a true weeknight dinner scenario. I found some leftover raw broccoli and green beans while cleaning out the fridge the other day, and decided to roast them up to extend their shelf life and work them into salads and bowls throughout the week. I love how roasting transforms both of those vegetables from something quite boring to savory and special. The very next day, they made it into this very easy, creamy green pasta that I spontaneously threw together. It exceeded my expectations and got my eight year old devouring both green beans and broccoli, which is a huge triumph in my book. She was even impressed enough to suggest that I share the recipe on the blog, so here I am :)Paloma is a pretty good eater as far as kids her age go. She eats most leafy salads, loves to munch on raw carrots and apples, and could easily devour a certain teff polenta of mine for breakfast, lunch and dinner. When it comes to things like broccoli and green beans (and mushrooms!) though, she is your typical, picky eight year old. If anything of the sort makes it onto her plate, she begins the meal with diplomatic negotiations about how she will eat this, but not that, and what sort of dessert she will be getting as a reward. We do have a rule that she has to try everything before refusing it, which is what got her with this pasta.In this recipe, the noodles are cooked in a creamy mixture of coconut milk and veggie broth, and jazzed up with some garlic and miso, while the caramelized, roasted vegetables get mixed in and slathered in all that creamy goodness as well. This preparation makes the otherwise tame green veggies into something irresistible, as proven by my kid’s enthusiasm. It’s also just a really great, easily customizable weeknight recipe. The roasted green beans and broccoli can be replaced by any other roasted vegetables, and you can play around with the addition of other types of greens, herbs and spices. I hope you’ll give this one a try :)Click HERE for CREAMY, GARLICKY FETTUCCINE WITH ROASTED VEGETABLES RECIPE

Glazed Tofu with Limey Cucumber Noodles and Mango

We’ve got a zinger of a hot weather dish for you today. Have you ever tried cucumber noodles in favor of the more common spiralized zucchini? I’m obsessed. They are the perfect, cooling and hydrating food, especially when dressed with plenty of lime juice, herbs and a kiss of spice. They’re great with tropical fruit, creamy avocado, and a sprinkling of toasted seeds, as well as tofu for more substance and a savory element. 

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Summery White Bean ‘Tuna’ Sandwich

Everything tastes better on the beach. The sun and saltwater create a special kind of exhaustion that will make even the blandest piece of food taste mind-blowing. When I was a kid, we were usually handed fresh peaches after a long, tiring swim. The peach juice would inevitably end up all over our faces and running down our arms, but no one cared because the way they tasted made the whole world go quiet. Those same peaches never seemed quite as delicious at home, and one year I even made a point of only eating them when at the seaside. Today’s sandwich can be eaten anywhere and anytime, but it will also make for one very special beach snack.


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Three Cooling Summer Smoothie Recipes

Feeling the heat this summer? When the sun’s rays are stronger outside, you might notice fiery Pitta dosha heating up in your own body. Signs of healthy Pitta on the move include higher energy levels, feelings of optimism, and an overall brightening within. But if Pitta dosha gets overheated, you may start to feel a little irritable and frustrated, or even experience rashes, acne, and other skin disruptions. Fortunately, Pitta can easily be brought back into balance with a little cooling and sweetness.

For a fast and easy way to give Pitta dosha some TLC, try these three cooling summer smoothie recipes, below. Each recipe calls for Pitta-pacifying ingredients and is chock-full of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and healthy fiber. You may notice we’ve left out some smoothie-ingredient standards — like yogurt and banana — which can aggravate Pitta. We’re pretty sure you’ll love these sweet, creamy recipes just the same!

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Black and White Chocolate Pudding

Out of all the desserts in the world, I crave the pudding/mousse-kind the most. A tiny cup full of something light, creamy and porous to finish off a meal is my idea of dessert heaven. I’m always on the lookout for new pudding/mousse ideas and constantly searching for ways to revolutionize my own tried and true recipes in one way or another, mostly to simplify the process or ingredients. I freestyled these black and white pudding cups the other day, when I made a fresh batch of almond milk and had all the other ingredients on hand. They turned out perfect and were gone within a day. I had no problem repeating them to photograph and share here :)Click Here for BLACK AND WHITE CHOCOLATE PUDDING Recipe

Gluten-Free Strawberry Cobbler

Checking in really quickly today with a recipe and step-by-step video of this gluten-free and vegan Strawberry Cobbler. I wasn’t kidding when I said I would be flooding this space with strawberry recipes this spring and summer :) Similarly to crumbles or crisps, cobblers are delightfully lazy fruit desserts that require no perfection on the cook’s part, but manage to come out a perfectly jammy and satisfying mess almost every time. Earlier this spring, I set out to develop a version that is both gluten-free and vegan, but also quick and with a manageable list of ingredients – here is the result!

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Italian-Style Lentil and Mushroom (Not)Meatballs from Pantry to Plate

I’m so excited to talk bit about Heather Crosby’s new cookbook Pantry to Plate today. When I received my copy and took a scan from cover to cover, I was immediately blown away by the way this book kindly invites the reader to be both spontaneous and practical in the kitchen by working with the ingredients that are already on hand. With thirty clever recipe templates, Heather demonstrates how to improvise your way to delicious, plant-based meals. For example, Dense Veggies + Protein + Herbs + Binder + Spices = Vegan Meatballs (or Veggie Burgers)! The templates specify the required amount for each component, as well as which components are a must and which ones can be skipped altogether. In addition to the templates, the book is full of other useful tools that help make intuitive cooking a breeze: besides a regular recipe index, there is a cook by ingredient index, as well as mini-templates for creating flavor with aromatics, a whole bit on pairing spices, and a dressing and sauce section that has pretty much every staple sauce recipe you’ll ever need. If you don’t have a particular ingredient for a recipe, chances are you have something on hand that could act as a substitute, and there is a whole chart of interchangeable mix-and-match ingredients in the book to help you work through that.

I’m quite terrible at sticking to recipes myself, since I always want to play, add, subtract and find alternative ingredients, so it’s as if this book was made for me. How Heather managed to define freestyle cooking in such clear, comprehensive terms, will remain a mystery to me :) Some more sections/recipes I’m most excited about: Coconut Yogurt, Dairy-Free Milks, Probiotic Cream Cheese, Veggie Fries, Cheesy Comfort Food, Hand Pies, Sneaky Brownies, Nice Cream. YUM! Onto the (not) meatballs.

 These Italian-style veggie meatballs come from the Veggie Burger section of the book and can be easily shaped into burgers or sliders, as Heather points out. They get their substance and ‘meatiness’ from lentils and portobello mushrooms, and a bit of sweetness from carrots and onions, while herbs like oregano, parsley and thyme, and spices like fennel and pepper give them that characteristic Italian flare. We enjoyed them two ways, the first day with zucchini noodles and pesto (pictured here), and the second day, a bit more traditionally, with real pasta and tomato sauce. Both were equally delicious. Heather also suggests to serve the meatballs in a sub roll, or even as an appetizer, along with some tasty sauce.Whether you live and breathe freestyle cooking, or you want to learn a bit more about being intuitive in the kitchen, check out Pantry to Plate, I have a feeling it will earn an important place on your bookshelf :)

Click HERE for Recipe: ITALIAN STYLE LENTIL AND MUSHROOM (NOT)MEATBALLS FROM PANTRY TO PLATE

Gluten-Free Blueberry Lemon Scones

When I was writing my first cookbook four years ago, I was completely infatuated with developing gluten-free baking recipes and baking almost every day. More than that, I was really into making my own flours (by blending whole grains in my Blendtec), and mixing my own gluten-free flour blends. I am one of those crazy people that enjoys making everything from scratch, but I also did all of those things out of necessity, since there were no high-quality gluten-free flour blends out on the market. Things have really changed since then! Health food stores are now flooded with all kinds of exotic flours and flour blends, which makes me a little less compelled to make my own. I still do from time to time, but I feel comforted by the fact that I can pick up a gluten-free flour blend in the store and whip up some tasty scones without getting messy with the blender and tons of jars. I should add that I don’t have a gluten sensitivity, but a few people I like to share scones with do, and I also just really love the challenge that gluten-free baking presents.


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Strawberry Guacamole

Earlier this spring, I talked a little bit about what an explosive strawberry season we experienced this year. I couldn’t keep myself away from our nearby organic strawberry farm, and as a result ended up with lots of berries that needed to find a home in one dish or another, since my freezer can only fit so much. I made this pie, a cobbler, and sprinkled the berries over everything from morning bowls to salads. I also remembered that strawberries work surprisingly well in guacamole, as proven to me by a friend years ago.
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